Texas A&M head basketball coach Buzz Williams and his Aggies may have left Bud Walton Arena with a loss Tuesday night, but Williams didn’t leave with any less love or respect for his team.

A late Arkansas surge turned a four-point lead into an 81-70 win for the Razorbacks (15-7, 4-5), who won their third straight SEC contest while handing the Aggies (15-7, 7-2) only their second league loss. 

It came against a Texas A&M squad that battled courageously despite its Monday night charter flight being diverted to Wichita, Kan., then  busing to Tulsa to spend the night and bussing on Fayetteville on Tuesday and arriving around 10:30 a.m. 

“I admire them so much,” Williams said on his post-game radio show. “I told them at halftime that ‘you are the hardest guys that I have ever been around to coach.’ They all looked at me and I said ‘I want you to listen with both eyes. You are the hardest group to coach.’”


“‘I struggle coaching you because I respect you so much,’” Williams said. “Everything they were saying before I spoke  – not in locker room, but on the path to the locker room – they had already said everything that I would have said. They had already said everything that any coach on our staff would have  said.

“It’s hard in 2023 to be a leader in any genre of leadership, but it is so refreshing that our staff has done such a literally perfect job of identifying the appropriate character that fits our daily work.”

Texas A&M ended the nation’s longest win streak last week at Auburn, but never led at Arkansas.

Wade Taylor IV and Henry Coleman III had 18 points to lead Texas A&M while Coleman added 15 rebounds and Tyrece Radford 17 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists in the loss.

“Henry played so hard,” Williams said. “All of them did. We didn’t finish at the rim – a coach’s point – at the rate we have to. But it wasn’t because we weren’t attacking. And then we didn’t finish defensive rebounding at the rate we have to.

‘I’m astonished that the human beings on our team also have the talent that they have,” Williams said. “It’s so fun. And we weren’t at our best and they (the Aggies) were the ones chattering to each other, holding one another accountable.”

The Aggies shot just 34.2 percent from the floor – 26 of 78 overall while making 13 of 38 field goal in each half – and cashed in only 14 of 24 free throws on the night.

But Texas A&M – who was  outscored 17-0 in bench points – won the board battle 46-40 with a 24-13 offensive rebound advantage and also benefitted from 17 Arkansas turnovers while making only 7 miscues themselves. 

“We did a lot of good things,”Williams said. “We were just dull a little bit. And they knew they were sharp on the things we have to be sharpest at.  There were too many empties like you have got to make that lay up  and we can’t shoot 58 percent from the free throw line.”

Arkansas had 13 blocks during the game with twin 6-9 posts Makhel Mitchell (9 points, 13 rebounds, 7 blocks) and Makhi Mitchell (6 points, 5 rebounds, 3 blocks) combining for 15 points, 18 rebounds and 10 blocks on their birthday.

“We shot 34 percent for the game and just 37 percent at the rim,” Williams said. “It is because 50 percent of shots we took inside the charge circle and we just didn’t finish.”

Texas A&M hosts Georgia on Saturday while Arkansas travels to South Carolina (8-14, 1-8) for a 2:30 CST game.

The Razorbacks and Aggies will meet again on Feb. 15 in College Station, Texas.

Photo courtesy of Texas A&M athletics